Breaking the Wall

Provo City Half Marathon

Previous WeekRecent EntriesHomeJoin Fast Running Blog Community!PredictorHealthy RecipesSasha Pachev's RacesFind BlogsMileage BoardTop Ten Excuses for Missing a RunTop Ten Training MistakesDiscussion ForumRace Reports Send A Private MessageMonth ViewYear View
Graph View
Next Week
15% off for Fast Running Blog members at St. George Running Center!


Orem,UT,United States

Member Since:

Jan 27, 1986



Goal Type:

Olympic Trials Qualifier

Running Accomplishments:

Best marathon: 2:23:57 (2007, St. George). Won the Top of Utah Marathon twice (2003,2004). Won the USATF LDR circuit in Utah in 2006.

Draper Days 5 K 15:37 (2004)

Did not know this until June 2012, but it turned out that I've been running with spina bifida occulta in L-4 vertebra my entire life, which explains the odd looking form, struggles with the top end speed, and the poor running economy (cannot break 16:00 in 5 K without pushing the VO2 max past 75).  


Short-Term Running Goals:

Qualify for the US Olympic Trials. With the standard of 2:19 on courses with the elevation drop not exceeding 450 feet this is impossible unless I find an uncanny way to compensate for the L-4 defect with my muscles. But I believe in miracles.

Long-Term Running Goals:

2:08 in the marathon. Become a world-class marathoner. This is impossible unless I find a way to fill the hole in L-4 and make it act healthy either by growing the bone or by inserting something artificial that is as good as the bone without breaking anything important around it. Science does not know how to do that yet, so it will take a miracle. But I believe in miracles.


I was born in 1973. Grew up in Moscow, Russia. Started running in 1984 and so far have never missed more than 3 consecutive days. Joined the LDS Church in 1992, and came to Provo, Utah in 1993 to attend BYU. Served an LDS mission from 1994-96 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Got married soon after I got back. My wife Sarah and I are parents of eleven children: Benjamin, Jenny, Julia, Joseph, Jacob, William, Stephen, Matthew,  Mary,  Bella.  and Leigha. We home school our children.

I am a software engineer/computer programmer/hacker whatever you want to call it, and I am currently working for RedX. Aside from the Fast Running Blog, I have another project to create a device that is a good friend for a fast runner. I called it Fast Running Friend.

Favorite Quote:

...if we are to have faith like Enoch and Elijah we must believe what they believed, know what they knew, and live as they lived.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie


Favorite Blogs:

Click to donate
to Ukraine's Armed Forces
Miles:This week: 0.00 Month: 0.00 Year: 948.94
Saucony Type A Lifetime Miles: 640.15
Bare Feet Lifetime Miles: 450.37
Nike Double Stroller Lifetime Miles: 124.59
Brown Crocs 4 Lifetime Miles: 1334.06
Amoji 1 Lifetime Miles: 732.60
Amoji 2 Lifetime Miles: 436.69
Amoji 3 Lifetime Miles: 380.67
Lopsie Sports Sandals Lifetime Miles: 818.02
Lopsie Sports Sandals 2 Lifetime Miles: 637.27
Iprome Garden Clogs Lifetime Miles: 346.18
Beslip Garden Clogs Lifetime Miles: 488.26
Joybees 1 Lifetime Miles: 1035.60
Madctoc Clogs Lifetime Miles: 698.29
Blue Crocs Lifetime Miles: 1164.32
Kimisant Black Clogs Lifetime Miles: 720.62
Black Crocs 2023 Lifetime Miles: 1312.70
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Night Sleep Time: 52.75Nap Time: 3.50Total Sleep Time: 56.25
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Went to church.

Night Sleep Time: 8.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 8.00
Add Comment
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Woke up and saw ice on the road again. Bummer. Or maybe a blessing in disguise - it would be easy not to speed on base runs. Decided not to wear Crocs to keep the feet from getting too cold.

Started with 4 with Hyrum and Daniel. It was cold, windy, and slippery. I saw a big traffic jam on I-15 as we went under it, and said to myself - I am glad I am not driving in this! Then I realized that the drivers who saw me would probably think - "I am glad I am not running in this!", but not after a few minutes of thinking. We ended up with 36:55 for 4 miles, but it was about 40 seconds faster for me due to a VPB.

Ran another mile with Daniel in 8:43. Then 10.1 by myself in 1:18:02 slipping, getting blown off by the wind at times, and admiring the scenery. Saw a few birds. Too bad I did not have Karl Jarvis with me. I could only identify the ducks.

P.M. 0.5 with Julia in 5:37, 1.5 with Jenny in 13:17, 2x100 with Joseph in 43 and 41, Joseph got a PR in 100 today. Then 2 with Benjamin in 16:12, and 1 alone in 7:49.

Crocs - 242.68 miles.

Night Sleep Time: 7.75Nap Time: 2.00Total Sleep Time: 9.75
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. We had quite a group this morning. Jeff, Josse, Brad, and Daniel. It eventually dwindled to just Jeff and Josse. I did 2 post-VPB pickups, first time 0.375 in 2:05, and then 0.25 in 1:20. Then we found Adam on the trail. Dropped off Josse, ran some more with Jeff and Adam. Dropped off Jeff, finished the run with Adam. Total of 15.1 in 1:58:40. It got colder - 20 F, but no snow on the ground.

Just wrote a comment on Lybi's blog that physical youth should continue until 45 under, and remembered that SelectMed (former IHC) decided to give me a birthday present in the form of raising our rate from $268/month to $337. The reason being that I turn 35 on April 21. This makes me furious, and I choose to not restrain the fury.

I can mingle with high schoolers and they will not have a clue I am not one of them unless I open my mouth and reveal my ignorance of whatever matters are considered important in their circles, or unless we run a marathon, in which case they would finish far behind. Neither one of those differences should be considered a reason for a higher health insurance rate.

This is more than a matter of paying extra $69 a month. This is about having to deal with a system that suffers from people making unhealthy lifestyle choices, knows very well that it does, but at the same time is sufficiently inept to fail to reward those who earnestly and passionately strive to be in good health.

I am looking for a health insurance provider that can give our family catastrophic health insurance for less. And particularly for somebody who would honor a healthy lifestyle. If anybody has suggestions, feel free to share. I think we should have a law that requires a health insurance provider to use biological rather than chronological age for calculating premiums. Otherwise, health insurance companies just get lazy and follow the path of the least resistance.

P.M. 0.5 with Julia in 5:37, 1.5 with Jenny in 12:36, 2 with Benjamin in 15:15, and 1 alone in 7:31.

Crocs - 262.78 miles. 

Night Sleep Time: 7.25Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.25
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. 10.1 with Jeff in 1:17:43. Discussed the effect of high mileage on all out speed and high school performances. Supposedly science says that if you do high mileage, the midgrade fibers become more slow-twitch oriented, and that kills your explosive power. If that is true, I must not have any of those because I've never gained all out speed by reducing mileage, or lost it by increasing it. Nor have I ever seen a reasonably well documented case when this has actually happened to somebody. If anybody has one, feel free to share.

Crocs - 272.88 miles.

P.M. 1 with Julia in 10:41, 1.5 with Jenny in 12:41, 5.53 alone in 41:33, and 2 with Benjamin in 15:30.

Crocs - 282.91 miles. 

Night Sleep Time: 6.75Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 6.75
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Tempo run with Jeff. Jeff wanted to do something shorter and faster, and I was not opposed. So we decided to do 3 miles starting at Geneva road, 1.5 out, 1.5 back. The plan was to go 5:30 pace. We stuck to the plan through the first 0.5. Then I led a quarter in 1:20, and Jeff did his in 1:19. This gave us 5:24 at the mile. We were both feeling good so far. Then a devil got into me and I did the next two quarters in 1:17 and 1:18, which gave us 7:59 at 1.5. After that I realized I did not want to run my race today, and told Jeff I did not want to go that fast. He took us through the next quarter in 1:24, which felt great, expect it was too slow. I thought I'd recover from the earlier adventure, and now would want to pick it up, but I did not - next quarter in 1:23, 10:46 at 2 miles followed by a 1:24 up the mini-hill. Jeff had had it, and took the next quarter in 1:21. I took over and eased off to 1:24 without trying. I suppose that is what happens when you focus on not breathing too hard. Then Jeff put the hammer down and hit 1:18 on the last quarter. I reluctantly followed, very reluctantly, but at least I could do it. I ended up with 16:13.8 on my watch.

Ran a long cool down, part of it with Jeff, part with Derek Davis on his way to work. Total of 15.6 for the run.

Not sure what to think of this workout. It was definitely odd with 5:24.6 average, a mid-mile in 5:14, and a 5:21 mile pieced together of the 4 fastest quarters. Wanting to run 5:10 pace after the first mile is good. Slowing down to 5:36 pace to recover from it, and feeling the effects for so long is bad. I am wondering if I am ready to start racing a half at 5:10 pace in some ways, but some glue is lacking to make it happen. And if so, the following training might supply the glue - run 5:10 pace until I can't hold it without a heroic effort or at all. Stop, jog 200 meters. Try again. Repeat until I have 5 miles total in at 5:10 pace. Any thoughts?

Crocs - 298.51 miles.

P.M. Ran the Costco Relay with my kids. We start at our house, and each kid does his run as Sarah drops them off/picks them up on the way. First 1.06 with Julia in 11:30. Then 1.54 with Jenny in 13:03. Then Benjamin being full of energy ran 21:07 for 2.77 with 100 feet of elevation gain which is 7:38 average. This put my Crocs over 300 miles. Still no holes, but one place in the forefoot wore out to about maybe a half of the original width on both feet.

I have run a marathon with a holey shoe before (Moab 2005). The hole was not big at the start, and I thought the race would be all on asphalt, so I would be OK. Then we hit a dirt road around mile 21, and a rock made its way through it which expanded the hole. To make things worse, it started raining too. Then when I got to the finish, the chute was not set up. So I timed myself, and went to work with one other helper to set up the chute and the computers before the second place finisher would make it. My hands were too cold, and not moving very fast, so even though there was a 15 minute gap, we had to time the second finisher manually, as well as third, and forth. After that, everything was smooth.

Something interesting always happens at the Moab Marathon. In 2006 I had to crawl under a barbed wire to get to the finish because of getting on the wrong side of it in the last quarter mile. It was on April Fool's Day, but it was no April Fool's Day joke.

Crocs - 303.88 miles.

Night Sleep Time: 7.50Nap Time: 1.50Total Sleep Time: 9.00
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Hibernated my way through 15.1 in 1:55:48, 11.1 of it with Jeff. My body thought 7:40 was a good pace, 7:45 even better. This is a good sign. I noticed that when my body wants to hibernate before a race, I often have good races.

Crocs - 318.98 miles.

P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 15:30, then later 2 with Lybi and James in 18:48, and 1 more with James in 9:02.

Crocs - 323.98 miles. 

Night Sleep Time: 7.75Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.75
Add Comment
Race: Provo City Half Marathon (13.11 Miles) 01:13:19, Place overall: 2
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

A.M. Brief report. Provo City Half, 1:13:19, 2nd pace after Shin Nozaki, a Japanese runner living in Orem who ran 1:11:20, great time for that course on a windy day. We ran together up to about 5.2, then he made a strong move and dropped me, then kept increasing the gap throughout the race.

Full report to follow. Drove up to the start with James, Lybi, and Adam. Warmed up around 2 miles with Adam. The race started 20 minutes late due to the chip pickup problem. I wonder why they were not handing the chips at the packet pickup. Talk to Shin at the start. Checked out the crowd. Did not identify any trouble otherwise, but was aware that some may still be lurking.

In the report, I did not use a GPS, and am giving the splits from my $9 Walmart watch by the mile markers painted on the road (as opposed to the race signs. You should ALWAYS go by what is painted on the road on a certified course), and the elevations are from the official race course profile at MapMyRun.Com.

BYU ROTC cadets fired the gun. I somewhat embarrassingly nearly missed the turn on 2nd West. The pace felt slow, and I was already upfront. Shin was right with me. There was a headwind, or possibly just a cross-wind on 2nd West. I saw Ted on his bike up ahead, and figured I'd just pull up and get right behind him. So I did make a bit of a surge and caught up at around 0.5 mark. Shin fell back a bit, but then caught up once I had eased off the pace. We already had nobody with us.

Made a turn on 800 North and headed towards the Provo River Trail. The head wind picked up, I think now this was a true headwind. We went through the first mile in 5:24, which had a net elevation gain of 43 feet. Good, hope not too good.

After about half a mile we finally got off 800 North on the Provo River Trail, finally no headwind. Ted on his bike, I am right on his back wheel, and Shin right on my heels. Second mile in 5:23, net elevation drop of 30 feet.

The third mile almost entirely overlapped the course I run almost every day. Lots of turns and going under bridges, ups and downs. Knowing that we were approaching a nasty headwind section I made a couple of moves on the under the bridge micro-downhills to gap Shin, but he would always close. That is one difference between an American and Japanese runner I noticed. The American will do everything he can to not reveal any signs of weakness until he just cannot hide it anymore. The Japanese runners I've raced completely ignored my moves, let me gap them, and then gradually closed the gap. They also make a lot of noises that may trick you into thinking they are struggling a lot when in fact they may still have a lot of juice left. We got off the trail and turned on Geneva Road heading north. Our third mile had a net drop of 16 feet, and we did it in 5:21. 16:08 at 3 miles, 16:43 at the 5 K.

We turned on the Boat Harbor Drive. Now the fun starts. We are directly against the headwind. Missed mile marker 4. 27:24 at 5 miles, 2 miles in 11:36, 5:38 average. Net elevation drop of 43 feet over those 2 miles. A very nice gradual drop. Too bad we could not make good use of it.

More headwind fun after that for about another quarter mile. It seemed like it gradually picked up as we got closer to the Utah Lake. I am starting to not feel super-snappy. I can tell Shin is getting a bit antsy to go, but waiting for the headwind to be over. We turn off the Boat Harbor Drive on the Provo River Trail, and Shin quickly shifts gears and picks it up to about 5:15 pace. No response from me, I just do not have it after over 2 miles of fighting the headwind. He is gapping me as if I were standing still. Ted went with him for a while, then figured that since he already had a guy on a scooter with him, he could wait for me to catch up and start yelling at me.

I am now getting a lecture from Ted on mental toughness. I've heard those lectures before, but they were directed at his son James while we were pacing him. And now I am getting the grown-up male version of it as well. Clean language, but tough words. At first I just wanted to ignore it but after a couple of minutes I realized that I could either ignore it and run 20-30 seconds slower, or I could obey everything he tells me to do and run 20-30 seconds faster. So I decided to do the latter.

6 miles in 33:04, ouch, 5:40 mile. Elevation gain of 13 feet.

While we ran into a headwind on an open section, now that we had the tailwind the Murphy's Law made it so that we had a tree cover. So we were not getting very much of it, and to make things worse, with the trail being windy we were getting a mild cross-wind on some sections.

At 6.8 the course overlapped a bit with the earlier section around mile 4, and it just happened that James and Lybi reached that particular point at the same time I did. So I got some cheering from them.

Missed mile marker 7. Watching Shin gradually open the gap. Getting a continuous pep-talk from Ted, and trying to respond to it. We got off the trail and headed south on Geneva road. Soon mile marker 8 came, 44:24, 11:20 for the last 2 miles, net elevation gain of 15 feet in 2 miles.

With some friendly cross wind and tail wind, a slight downhill, and some strong encouragement from Ted, was able to regroup on the next mile and hit it in 5:27, 49:51 at 9 miles, 21 seconds behind the 5:30 guy. The mile had 15 feet of elevation loss.

Mile 10 had some cross-wind and a net drop of 2 feet, but it first dropped 10 feet, and then gained 8. I did miss the mark though. Mile 11 was similar to mile 10 wind-wise, but had a net elevation gain of 5 feet with the initial climb of 10 feet, followed by a drop of 5 feet. 1:01:05 at 11 miles, 11:14 for the next 2, 5:30 guy now has 35 seconds.

Mile 12 was the toughest mile of the race. What made it tough was running into a headwind on University Avenue up the railroad overpass. The elevation data from MapMyRun.Com shows a gain of 30 feet, but looking at the actual location of mile 12, it was right on top of the bridge, while MapMyRun.Com shows further climb after mile 12. And the whole length of the course comes out to 13.24. So I assume MapMyRun data is about 0.1 off the certification. This would make the elevation gain to be 40 feet. I ran that mile in 5:59 and was glad it was over when we started going down the bridge.

Mile 13 had a lot of turns, headwind for about 0.5, and net gain of about 23 feet in spite of the quick drop of 10 feet in the first 0.1. Caught a split at the 20 K - 1:09:29. That would make it 52:46 for the 15 K from 5 K to 20 K, acceptable for the conditions and the course. I managed a 5:42 for mile 13, 1:12:46 at 13 miles. Tried to pick it up on the last 0.11, but did not have much of a kick due to fatigue and the last of competition nearby - 32 seconds. Got 1:13:18 on my watch, 1:13:19 officially.

Afterwards, Ted gave me the greatest compliment - "1:13 is not that bad for that wind!". That was exactly what I needed to hear. It means something to me because I know that Ted does not tell you you did a good job when you did not. He'll say: "What happened, were you sick, did you have a cold, did you have a stomach flu, or are you overtrained?" when you do not run the time that he expected you to run.

Since James could run with Lybi only part way due to his recent knee issues, we had planned the operation "Lybi relay". Adam paced her for the first 3 miles, then ran his regular pace the rest of the way passing people and advertising for the blog. James paced her to 8 miles from there, then drove to meet me on Center street as I ran in his direction after the race, picked me up, and took me to a little bit past mile 9 from where I paced Lybi to the finish. I had several concerns for her - slowing down to slower than 12:00 half way through the race due to a severe fuel crash, muscle fatigue, or injury, and how she was going to handle mile 12 with the overpass and the headwind. She performed in the top 20% of the expectation range of what might possibly happen. Her slowest mile was 10:46 (the notorious mile 12), last 5 K in 30:49, 9:54 average, and total time was 2:03:17, very good result for the first half marathon on a tough course on a windy day and with the lack of training recently.

P.M. 1 with Julia in 9:15, 1.5 with Jenny in 13:02, and 2 with Benjamin in 15:24.

Crocs - 328.98 miles. 

Night Sleep Time: 7.75Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 7.75
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance
Night Sleep Time: 52.75Nap Time: 3.50Total Sleep Time: 56.25
Debt Reduction Calculator
Featured Announcements
Lone Faithfuls
(need a comment):
Recent Comments: